2017 Fiat 500X Brings Italian Fun To the Whole Family

2017 Fiat 500X (Aaron)

The Fiat 500X was introduced last year as the first four-door crossover in the Fiat lineup for North America. Its exterior look is much like the tiny 500, but its underpinnings are co-designed with Jeep. For 2017, the 500X sees little change from last year.

The manufacturer says

The FIAT 500X has the capability to take you wherever you want to go. It is fit, fashionable and prepared to take on the most fun adventures ahead. For about the average price of a compact sedan, the FIAT 500X delivers the luxury of a midsize vehicle and is available with AWD.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Fiat
  • Year, Model: 2017 500X
  • Class, Type: Compact crossover
  • Base Price: $19,995
  • MSRP as tested: $29,465
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The 2017 Fiat 500X is a subcompact crossover with roots in Italy and the U.S. That dual citizenship means that the 500X carries some of the best of both worlds, retaining its Italian style and fun factor while gaining some American know-how in all-wheel drive and family readiness. For the 2017 model year, nothing changes from last year except that trim points have been reduced to three (instead of five) and options packages were shuffled to match.

The exterior of the 2017 500X is larger and sits higher than does that of the 500, but the 500X otherwise has much akin with its smaller two-door brothers. The bug-eyed headlamps, rounded hood, and square-but-not-square body shape are all retained. Some refinements were made to accommodate the larger size of the 500X, of course, such as a more rounded rear end (for better aerodynamics) and some beefier wheel wells (all-wheel drive, larger tires).

The 500X is built on the same factory line as the well-done Jeep Renegade, but has a more refined body style and less off-road muscle in its chassis. Where the Renegade is made to keep up the Jeep name and expectation, the 500X is aimed towards a more contemporary, urban audience that needs practicality and smooth looks as much as they do all-weather capability.

The 2017 Fiat 500X seats up to five, though getting three across in the back is a probably more likely to happen at a clown college than in the real world. Even seating three kids across in a subcompact is mostly just to prove that it can be done rather than as a daily exercise. Knowing that, though, we are impressed with the interior of the 500X for its relative roominess and upscale appeal.

There are three trim levels for the 500X, each bringing more sophisticated interior accoutrements. The Pop (base) is a bit bland, but still better than most of the base level interiors of competitors in this segment. The Trekking is much more to our liking and would be our recommended trim point for cost-effectiveness. It also has the better engine option.

The base engine for the 2017 Fiat 500X is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This engine is found in the little 500 and in the Fiat 124 Spyder. It’s a good engine, but not quite powerful enough for the 500X’s larger stance. Front-wheel drive is standard as is a six-speed manual transmission. There is no automatic offered with the smaller engine.

We prefer the larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder offered in the mid- and upper trim package for the 500X. The 2.4L produces 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft and isn’t turbocharged, but offers a wider power band and better power delivery. This one is mated to the same nine-speed automatic transmission, but with different tuning to better utilize the 2.4’s output. All-wheel drive is optional with this engine and much-appreciated. The AWD system uses the same magnetic differential clutch that is found in several Fiat-Chrysler vehicles, allowing for limited drag when only FWD is required (such as with highway driving) for better fuel economy.

The 2017 500X is EPA-rated at 24 mpg combined with its 2.4L engine option and AWD. The 30 mpg highway that rating includes is realistic for the 500X as well and we easily matched it during our week of driving, despite mixed passenger loads and higher freeway speeds.

What we like

Good interior for the vehicle’s segment.

Strong 2.4L engine upgrade that’s worth the tradeoffs.

What we don't

Larger back seat legroom comes at the price of less cargo space behind.

Options packages quickly get pricey.

Conclusions

The 2017 Fiat 500X is a good little subcompact crossover that competes well against others in the segment. It’s not as roomy inside as is the somewhat taller Renegade it shares a sales floor with, but has more refinement than most competitors. We especially like the 500X’s economical AWD system and great visibility from the driver’s seat. This is a fun, practical urban car.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The 500X was a manufacturer’s press loan, which we drove for about a week. During that time, mixed passenger loads of up to five were in the vehicle and both in-town and highway driving were done. Some light offroad was also included.

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